Neal Alexander
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Remembering to forget
Northern Irish fiction after the Troubles

Re-membering, putting together the pieces of a fractured psychological or historical puzzle is the first step to working through, and eventually forgetting, the long-term effects of trauma, whether at an individual or a collective level. The prominence of the issues of memory, remembrance and forgetting in recent Northern Irish fictions suggests a recognition of the difficulty and importance of such an undertaking in all its cultural, social and political implications. By singularising suffering, That Which Was also inevitably shows remembering and forgetting to be unusually painful and difficult experiences. The International is much concerned with the themes of memory and forgetting, and Danny Hamilton's recollections of pre-Troubles Belfast selfconsciously register the distortions and uncertainties that are inherent in the act of remembering. Bernard McLaverty's The Anatomy School, Eoin McNamee's The Blue Tango, David Park's The Big Snow novels recreate moments out of time from the decades prior to the Troubles.

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